On Meet the Press today, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich engaged in a little bit of Republican revisionist history today by trying to lay blame for the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction on Colin Powell, not Dick Cheney.
After fellow guest Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) questioned Dick Cheney’s credibility by reminding everyone of Cheney’s Iraq WMD claims, Gingrich said, “Well, let, let me start with, first of all, it was Secretary of State Colin Powell who also talked about weapons of mass destruction, so this is not a Cheney problem. The fact is every member of the American government senior leadership believed in the intelligence they were getting at the time.”
That is really funny. Yes, Powell made the case for US at the UN on the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but Dick Cheney was everywhere in the media making the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Cheney was on NPR, CNN, Good Morning America, Fox News, Meet the Press, and just about every other network selling the Iraq has WMD story.
Cheney still continued to make his Iraq WMD claims even after the Iraq Study Group and President Bush both said that there were no WMDs in Iraq. Cheney has continued to make the same claims with the minor modification of saying that Iraq had the potential to restart its WMD program. He even tried to make the WMD connection in his speech last Thursday. Cheney is Mr. WMD. It is disingenuous and flat out wrong for Gingrich to blame Powell for the WMD claims.
Since Colin Powell has fallen out of favor with the base of the GOP, Gingrich is now trying to absolve Dick Cheney of any wrongdoing and place all of the blame on Powell, who career and legacy will be forever stained by the case he made for invading Iraq to the U.N. If Republicans keep this up, soon they will be blaming Powell for the war in Iraq, and while Powell is not blameless, Dick Cheney needs to shoulder a larger share of the responsibility for the duping the American people into supporting the invasion of Iraq.